Making a module case

It is about time me and Braska started making a case for modules/synths we've made. The panels for the modules I've made are 12x12cm a unit and I have some standard panels made with 16 holes evenly spaced. These are the generique type that may house vcos, filters etc.

The big one is for midibox seq. which slowly but surely manifests on my desk. The others are for the soundlab I've finished and for an AVRsynth I've repackaged so this is a no-go.

So, the construction started by drilling holes for wooden dowels

... and marking the other wood panel where they should land

.. thus constructing the raw cabinet sized aprox. 72x36cm

The hard edges on the front side where smoothed with a router

.. and then it was painted with four coats of satin walnut finish (Water based, doesn't stink, washes easily until it gets dry. Quite nice actually)

.. the balcony was a mess (and still is because I started something else :)

.. and here is after first coat

... and this is its current state, with soundlab fitted

The WSG is the next thing that will be fitted along with a yusynth filter and a midibox Midi2CV

(you can see that it is getting warm here on the white thermometer on the right!!)

Tempcos in the missed

The yusynth VCO was missing a tempco. So I ordered some from Vintage Planet and as soon as I got them (ultra fast) I put them on both the VCOs I've made and TADAAAAA! ONE OF THEM WORKED almost as expected (the other one is still too unstable). So I will hunt down and kill the wrong component. (I hope)..

(Thank god I had the oscilloscope.. the first frequency I could read was 43 KHz!!!!)

A working SID Synth

The SID synth is working!

As I just bought a simple oscilloscope, wave shots follow..

The SID filter works by using two capacitors. I think it works by switching them on and off in sequence. However it works internally, you can experiment with the values of the capacitors. So to experiment without solder/desolder I put a pin header.


The saw

The triangle

The pulse

The noise

The filtered saw with lots of resonance

Now on to a casing.. I had some ideas. But I would like first to get my hands on something to realize it.. Patience is a virtue. I am no virtual, I am real (I think :)

The Nibbler and Collin the fortune teller

Some time ago, Collin saw a nibbler in my future and the prophecy has now been fulfiled!


Of course, the first person(?) to grab and test it how comfortable it is to sit on, was Braska:

The nibbler works like this: it passes the metal "jaw" you see in the pictures below through the metal while keeping it in place. This way there is no distortion on the metal like when cutting it with scissors made for metal.

The jaw has a jagged edge or else it would be impossible to get a grasp on the sheet. It would slide off. So while cutting, it actually works like two pairs of scissors. It removes the middle section. This produces a curly string of material like the one you get when you slide the knife on butter.

To cut efficiently and without any distortion/bending, the upper "jaw" of the nibbler must be in full contact with the material . Otherwise, it would pull the metal up and bend it.

The material used here was aluminum, 2mm thick. It was VERY easy to cut it. It was like cutting a thick cardboard with a pair of scissors. It is extremely accurate too! if you have a guide, you can't go wrong

Other tests included of cource PCBs that were cut like butter! It doesn't leave a jaggy edge!

Cutting a .8mm thick aluminum sheet, was like cutting through paper. I found in the local hardware store a 1000x120x1.5mm aluminum sheet which I am going to get TOMORROW!!!

The hardest of all was a 1mm steel sheet. Now THAT was difficult. Thank god I wont have to work with this stuff after I get that aluminum sheet.

Now I can fit all my LCDs behind well (well, better) made panels. There is another thing I have to figure out. The smallest possible diameter that a hole must have so as to insert the jaw completely to start a cut from the inside of the panel.

From what I have tried up to now, it must be just a little more than 9mm in length.

Sowing the SIDs of love

All things come to those who wait. But even if you wait for an eternity, no SID will come your way unless you hunt it down because it has been long since it was discontinued! And so I did hunt it!!. Two found and thus, the quest for the MidiBox SID began.

It is a stereo SID synth. Two sids, one for each channel. Made the Core (the old 8 bit), got two 18f4685 (of which I toasted one because I gave it 12 volts!! :( Thank god I got two) made the boards and TADAAA!!!!

The SID works!! If you play something via midi you get a square lead sound.. nothing special but it is there.. So now I must add buttons and encoders.

The only thing that went wrong apart from the burnt PIC was that the 20x4 blue/white screen I had to put , went cookoo!! Maybe this was a result of the 12 volt jolt! But, no real harm done since I have a spare 40x2 screen.!!

Now I REALLY have to finish the midibox router and midibox sequencer.. I have no excuse, neither does Braska!!

Inter-hobby relationships

This is my friend, Bella. She is a small hippo, brought to our house via toyvoyagers (
This is (one of) our mom's hobby (Aris' wife, mother of their children and host of me, Braska)
I would like to travel a bit too but there is a lot of work here and Aris would be lost without me in his pictures!!

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Midibox Day

This is the day of the midibox. I started making 4 MidiIIC modules and 4 Core Modules (pic based)
The four MidiIIC will be used for a midi router (again, a midibox project) I am making.
One of the cores will be used for it too. The other one will be used for a SID engine (with TWO sids!! Stereo!)
(I already found the SIDS). The other two core modules will be used for various experiments and to continue
the (delayed) development of the harmonic table project. Of course Braska is here to help!!!!

Soundlab revisited

The sound lab is a well known project for beginner-intermediate DIYers. Of course Braska wanted some publicity shots.

Here, we are at the process of connecting the panel.

How I got this panel is a different story that will be posted on another artice.. Well, the hard thing about the soundlab was that, the first time I turned it on, it didn't work at all (surprise, surprise!!). I followed the signal with my soundcard/oscilloscope (crappy method but ....) and found that there were two faulty transistors. I replaced them and TADAAA!! It worked. Not as expected but there was sound comming out of the output. After a lot of debugging and cable tracing, all faults were solved and the SoundLab was playing well. There was the time that I should make it pretty.

To add to the difficulty, I decided on a mod. I would put a frequency modulation knob that modulates oscillator 2 with the frequency of oscillator 1. The mod is very well described at the (the link takes you directly to the mod).

At the beginning, I was thinking of spraying the panel and then add decals on it but after looking at the decal test results I did, I was dissapointed. So the old trusted method of the photographic paper (like I did on the babybote) was the way to go. With one crucial addition. After letting the photo paper dry, I sprayed it with a clear acrylic laquer. This gave it a more "professional" look ( kitch might be the right word).

So the result was this:

The following pic shows the FM addition.. There is some deviation from the initial plan because it was a last minute decision to add it but the panel was already made

I made a simple CV tester with just a potentiometer and a battery and braska seems to get the hang of it.

This was the result!